Posted 12:36 pm

I play City of Heroes, a MMORPG which allows you to play a superhero, complete with super powers, and fight crime and put bad guys in jail. I’ve played this game now about about three years and I love it. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite game, but it’s the only MMO I play, and the only one I’ve every played for more than a month or so before giving up on. Yesterday I reached level 50 (highest level in the game) with my first hero.

A bit of¬†explanation… I’ve had level 50 characters for awhile now, but in this case, I got there by playing the game rather than by taking advantage of an exploit. Agent Bowman, my first level 50 character, I played to around level 35, then during a double xp weekend, someone found an exploit where a group of people could repeatedly run the opening of a specific mission, where all you do is check in with contacts rather than do anything like fight bad guys but still got experience for it like you completed several missions. With a nearly full team, each member could stake out a contact, each gets clicked within seconds of each other, and the entire run is done in about a minute. Repeat several hundred times and a few hours later Agent Bowman was level 50.

The reason for taking advantage of the exploit was simple: I didn’t really enjoy playing Agent Bowman. I’m not sure why. He’s fun, he’s effective, and he has lots of friends… I think it is partly because he doesn’t really have much personality, or really one I can role-play effectively online. It might also be because he was created for a specific super group (Star Patrol), and at the time it was difficult to get several members of the group online at the same time to play. Regardless, I didn’t really want to play him, but I also wanted him to be level 50 because he was kinda in charge of the super group. It make sense for him to be level 50.

Also, achieving level 50 on a hero unlocked two new hero archetypes I’ve been wanting to play. So I got to do that too.

I also used an exploit to level up a villain, though this one was quite a bit different. The Mission Architect, where players could design their own missions for themselves or others to play, was just introduced, and it didn’t take long for some people to find which enemy unit gave the most xp for the least amount of effort and filled up mission maps with them. This was so incredibly effective it was possible to go from level 1 to 50 in a day or two. I got my villain from level 12 to 50 in a total of about 10 hours spread over 2 days. Like with heroes, this unlocked two new villain archetypes which I could not play unless I had a level 50 villain.

I’m not terribly ashamed of using exploits to level a few of my characters. It was merely an means to and end, and nobody got hurt, nobody was taken advantage of, and nobody lost anything. It was just for a short time the game put out more rewards than it should have for people who knew where to look. These exploits of course were fixed, removed, nerfed and otherwise made unexploitable after they were discovered. Of course not a one of them was addressed during the double xp weekends in which they were taken advantage of… it was all done after. Whether this was because it just took that long to fix the issue or because the developers said “let them have their fun” before they started.

Getting a character to level 50 is always an achievement when it’s done through game play. I play the game a lot, but I also have a lot of characters I divide my time among. I have about two dozen or so who I play on a regular basis, and many of those I role-play while running missions. As a result I have a lot of mid to high level characters with only a few at level 50. I’m about to try an experiment where I attempt to play a single character exclusively until he’s level 50. I don’t think I can do it, but it’ll probably be fun trying.


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